Various Artists - Belly of the Whale - CD
The Belly of the Whale project was brilliantly conceived together by two of the prime movers in the Natural Art world: Interspecies and Greenmuseum. The goal was to create digital music from underwater sound samples of creatures including orcas, dolphins, beluga whales, sperm whales, humpback whales, Weddell and Bearded seals, lobsters, shrimp and water. Together, Interspecies and Greenmuseum compiled a sample CD of 350 captured sounds and sent it out to many of their favorite electronic artists. Scanner, Merzbow, Yannick Dauby, LapCore, Jayne Fenton Keane, Kim Cascone and many others answered the call merging deep sea underwater sounds with their electronic aesthetics. What's most compelling about this project is the thoughtful way that the artists have listened and responded, both individually and as a community, to the sounds of our environment. This project is a unique blend of modern electronic music as well as an underwater educational experience. Included are some of the foremost electronic composers in the world making music for two of the foremost groups in the Natural Art world.
Jim Nollman started the nonprofit, Interspecies Communication Inc., in 1978, to sponsor a long term experiment in using music to communicate with wild animals. Over the years, he has produced field projects with species as varied as howler monkeys in Panama, buffalo and elk in Yellowstone, and turkeys in his own backyard. His best known work has been with dolphins and whales. This work has been sponsored by many foundations including The Smithsonian, Threshold, Slifka Foundation, the National Endowment for the Arts, as well as foundations in Germany, Japan, Finland, and France. It has been filmed many times by all US TV networks, and includes two National Geographic films in the past 3 years alone. Nollman has also written several books about this work including The Man Who Talks To Whales, The Charged Border, and The Beluga Café.
In 2003 Nollman met Sam Bower of greenmuseum.org. Their two organizations were engaged in the parallel work of promoting and sponsoring new art that transforms the way human beings relate to nature. To distinguish the two, Interspecies was more focused on producing music with animals, while Greenmuseum was more focused on developing and networking the incipient art-for-nature community. Jim mentioned to Sam that Interspecies owned a sound library of underwater animal calls, and wondered if there was some way to use them to engage the greenmuseum community. From the resultant conversations, The Belly of the Whale project was created.
Sam researched a list of 50 composers from around the world. Jim produced a source CD that included 350 different sounds recorded underwater (whales, lobsters, dolphins, seals, walrus, etc.) plus recordings of himself reading excerpts from his books about the process of using live music to communicate with orcas and beluga whales. From the initial 50, 19 composers responded with compositions. The eclectic group included Scanner, who had recently been commissioned to compose the National Anthem for the European Union; Petri Kuljuntausta, who was recently honored as Finland’s artist of year; Christina della Guistina and Jayne Fenton Keynes, who have won many awards for their music worldwide; Merzbow, who is known around the world; Kent Clelland, who was a senior programmer for Native Instruments in Berlin and who made some of the digital tools used by the others; and even drummer John Hanes, whose recent credits include the theme music for the film Grizzly Man.
1. Jayne Fenton Keane - Channel Crossing 2
2. Lapcore - Club Delphinapterus
3. Yannick Dauby - Cetacean Somnolence
4. Jim Nollman - Realtime Interspecies Music
5. Scanner - Ricochet
6. Merzbow - 風のはるか
7. Christina Della Giustina - Green
8. Stephen Vitiello/Drew Edwards - Belly Up
9. Janus Kober - Pelagic Cycle
10. Thanos Chrysakis - Moby Dick Dives In the Ocean's Dreams
11. David Rothenberg - Inside the Whale
12. John Hanes (2) - Whale Belly Sound System
13. Archive (2) - Dolphinator
14. Homer Smith - Detritus In the Wake
15. Petri Kuljuntausta - Navigator
16. Nathan McNinch - Unexplored Depths
17. Kim Cascone - Briny Claws